Ryan Giggs named BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welsh footballer Ryan Giggs was named as the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in a ceremony Sunday night. The 36-year-old Manchester United and Welsh international player has won a record eleven Premier League titles in his career, and made over 800 appearances for his club.

Giggs holding the Premier League trophy in 2008

The award is given in December each year to a British sportsman or woman, and is voted for by the public. Giggs is only the fifth footballer to win since the award started in 1954, the most recent being David Beckham in 2001.

Formula One driver Jenson Button was runner-up, and heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis came in third.

Giggs said that winning came as a shock. "I grew up watching this programme. To see the people that have won it and to be here is unbelievable," he said in his acceptance speech.

"I am playing for the greatest manager that has ever lived and I'm playing for the greatest club," Giggs said. "Perhaps I've become more appreciated as I have got older. It's unusual for a 36-year-old to be playing with a team like Manchester United for 20 years but I am enjoying it and long may it continue."

Through his career United is the only club Giggs has played at. This year he made his 800th appearance and scored his 150th goal, and in April he also won the PFA Player Of The Year award.

Seve Ballesteros won the event's Lifetime Achievement award. The Spanish golfer, who is suffering from a brain tumour, was unable to attend the event, but received a standing ovation. His award was presented at his home in Padrena by fellow golfer José María Olazábal.

"It's a pity I'm not there. I'm very sorry, I know I'm missing a good show, thank you very much to everyone," Ballasteros said.

15-year-old diver Tom Daley won Young Sports Personality of the Year for the second time, as well as being one of the ten contenders for the main award. "It's been a good year for me and I would just like to thank everyone who has helped me," Daley said.

Comedian Eddie Izzard received a special award for his contributions to the charity event Sport Relief. Earlier this year he completed 43 marathons across the United Kingdom in 51 days, running a total of 1,100 miles. Izzard said that he decided on the challenge as "a health idea". He trained for only five weeks before setting out.

"Everything was painful. People asked me if I enjoyed the running, but I enjoyed the stopping! I staggered, I ran and I crawled," he admitted when accepting the award. His efforts netted over £200,000 for charity.

The awards were presented at the Sheffield Arena, in front of 11,000 people.

Full list of awards

Sports Personality of the Year Ryan Giggs, footballer
Team of the Year England cricket team
Coach of the Year Fabio Capello, England football coach
Young Sports Personality of the Year Tom Daley, diver
Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Usain Bolt, sprinter
Helen Rollason Award Major Phil Packer, for charity work
Sports Unsung Hero Doreen Adcock, swimming coach
Special Award Eddie Izzard
Lifetime Achievement Seve Ballesteros, golfer